Coronavirus: special council tax measures
Your council tax is still due as usual from 1 or 15 April, but to help our customers cope financially through the current coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis we have suspended:
- reminders, final notices and court summons
- any new attachment to earnings orders (those already in place will continue unless your salary stops)
- any new requests to DWP for deductions from Universal Credit (those already in place will continue)
- Enforcement Agent (bailiffs) letters and visits
- Bankruptcy and Committal action
If you're already in arrears and have agreed a special payment arrangement, please continue to pay this or e-mail email@example.com if you are unable to do so.
If you experience difficulty paying your bill:
- contact our Council Tax department immediately - don't wait until we send you a reminder
- we can check whether you're getting all the council tax discounts and exemptions you're entitled to
How we deal with missed council tax payments
If you get behind with your council tax payments, we'll send a reminder letter to let you know how much you need to pay to bring your account up to date.
We only issue up to 2 reminder letters in each financial year - any further late payments will lead to our Council Tax recovery process being used.
Council tax recovery process
If you don't pay, or fail to make future Council Tax payments on time:
- you lose the right to pay by instalments
- you have to pay the full amount
- we issue a summons
- we take action through the Magistrates Court to obtain a liability order against you
- costs associated with issuing a summons and obtaining a liability order are added to your bill
Court summons for council tax arrears
If you've recently received a court summons for council tax arrears:
- you don't have to attend court unless you want to dispute your case
- you can propose a Special Payment Arrangement online before the date of your court hearing
- we'll confirm whether we accepted your Special Payment Agreement
- we'll send a 'Special Payment Arrangement Confirmation'
- you must make the agreed payments on time
If you don’t agree a Special Payment Arrangement and haven't paid the full balance before the court hearing, we'll send a 'Notification of Liability Order' after the court hearing. We can then:
- take payments directly from your earnings
- take payments directly from your Income Support or Pension Credit
- instruct bailiffs to seize your goods and sell them at auction
Any further costs due to bailiff action will be added to your debt; the government set the bailiff fee.
If you feel that a summons has been issued in error, see our guidelines as to when you might be able to raise a summons or liability order dispute.
Please note that requesting a Special Payment Arrangement at summons stage will not prevent an account from following the full council tax recovery process, including liability order and the associated court costs.
Liability order for council tax arrears
If you're behind with council tax payments and you've received a Notification of Liability Order you must:
- contact our Council Tax Recovery Team to agree to settle your arrears and avoid further action or costs
- complete a Special Payment Arrangement to propose a plan to clear your arrears
- clear all arrears before the end of the current financial year
If you feel you are unable to clear your arrears within the current financial year (by 31 March) contact the Council Tax Recovery Team.
If you feel that a liability order has been issued in error, see our guidelines as to when you might be able to raise a summons or liability order dispute.
Bailiffs and enforcement action for council tax arrears
If you do not agree a way forward to clear your council tax arrears within the current financial year, we may refer your debt to a bailiff company (known as 'enforcement agents'). Enforcement agents that operate on our behalf have a formal contract and are monitored for customer service.
Any further costs due to bailiff action will be added to you debt.
The government Taking Control of Goods Regulations (2013) set costs charged by enforcement agents in 3 stages:
- compliance stage: £75.00
- enforcement stage: £235.00 + 7.5% of any debt over £1,500.00
- sale or disposal stage: £110.00 + 7.5% of any debt over £1,500.00
If the final stage is reached, further fees may apply.
Council Tax Recovery Team
Council Tax appointments
To get council tax advice in person at West Offices, you need to make an appointment.